As members of a chartered profession, actuaries have a core obligation to serve the public interest. But what does this mean? 'Public interest' is not a clearly defined concept and there are number of ways we try to support members to fulfil this duty.
As a regulated profession, it is critical that we engage on regulatory issues and build strong relationships with regulators and other actuarial associations issuing rules or standards of practice. We respond to consultations and meet regularly with key regulators - and our actuarial colleagues internationally - in an effort to inform regulatory policy so that actuaries can carry out their work in the public interest.
More recently, we have developed some key public policy priority themes on which the IFoA can proactively engage, using actuarial expertise to inform policy development:
1. Ageing population;
2. Future of investment policy;
3. Resource and environment issues.
These key policy priorities:
represent significant economic and social challenges for policymakers at the domestic and international level;
are long-term issues that transcend the duration of a parliamentary term;
are areas where there are different perspectives on how the policy dilemma might be resolved;
are of cross-practice interest; and
vitally, are issues on which actuarial expertise can add significant value, and where opportunities exist for the actuarial profession to provide an impartial, evidence-based contribution to the policymaking process.
To arrive at these themes we have had significant input from all of the practice area boards and, as we develop our work streams within them, we will continue this consultative approach. Our next step is to ensure that the valuable outputs of our vibrant working party community are drawn upon, examining how our member-led research can help to inform public policy and to raise the profile of the profession.
Through a process of continued dialogue and input from the boards, we will produce a series of policy briefings that will outline the key policy challenges and consider how actuarial expertise might inform the debate.
We already have clear evidence to demonstrate the impact we can have when we derive our policy positions from research findings. The Pensions and Long Term Care Working Party was established to develop intellectual capital that would support the IFoA in building a narrative and engaging in the debate on long-term care.
Following the publication of its report, we have met key civil servants to discuss the findings, and our external engagement programme is ongoing.
We want to build on this momentum and bring actuarial analysis to debates such as the future of retirement income provision, risks of procyclicality and understanding the effect of climatic events.
We hope that our public-policy priorities demonstrate an important way in which actuarial expertise can be deployed outside our usual frame of reference - reflecting our diverse skill set and driving thought leadership in the public interest.
If you would like to get involved, please contact IFoA's head of policy, Amy Tarr.
Email: [email protected]